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What Is Wagyu Beef?

What Is Wagyu Beef?

“Wagyu” simply means Japanese cow. But if you’ve ever had a bite of this melt-in-your mouth delicacy, you know it’s far more than that.

Technically, Wagyu is a specific breed of Japanese cattle with unique genetics that create marbling of fat in the muscle tissue. No other breed of cattle does this—their fat is deposited on the outside of the muscle, like a fat cap. But Wagyu cows metabolize the fat inside their muscle tissue, which makes for that rich, buttery flavor and texture. 

Here in the U.S., however, the plot thickens, as there is a difference between what some ranchers call Japanese Wagyu—our Wagyu Platinum—and American Wagyu—our Wagyu Gold. Purebred Japanese Wagyu beef is typically served in tiny portions, as it’s so rich that any more than a few bites can be overwhelming. American Wagyu, or our Wagyu Gold, is more palatable in larger portions because it’s cross-bred with angus cattle and has less marbling than purebred. 

Purebred Wagyu (left), or Miraflora Wagyu Platinum, is typically served thinly sliced, as its intense marbling makes it extremely rich. American Wagyu (right), or Miraflora Gold, can be served in larger portions, like a steak or a burger.

If you ever order a Wagyu steak at a restaurant, it’s almost always cross-bred. In order for it to be called as such, it must be at least half Wagyu. Purebred Wagyu is difficult to find in the States; you may have to go to an upscale Japanese restaurant, where it will most likely be served in thin slices. Purebred Wagyu Platinum has a very special umami flavor that’s almost sweet on the tongue, whereas Wagyu Gold has a familiar beefy flavor that we know and love, but the fat content enhances the flavor and makes it far more tender and juicy than an ordinary steak.

Worried about all that fat in Wagyu? Don’t be. Wagyu might be the healthiest of all meats. Wagyu cattle naturally produce more of the “good” fats than other breeds, specifically more omega 3, omega 6 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) fats that have shown to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzeheimer’s, and other conditions like diabetes. It contains the enzyme delta 9-desaturase, which takes the artery-clogging saturated fat and turns it unto unsaturated fat (oleic acid). Because of this higher level of monounsaturated fats and fatty acids, Wagyu is more comparable to premium olive oil than traditional red meat. It also contains the lowest cholesterol levels of all meats, including fish and chicken. 

Order some today, and treat yourself to the best meat you’ll ever eat.


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